Zip'Up: De onde emergem os nervos: Sheila Oliveira

20 July - 16 August 2017

The exercise of art is, for Sheila Oliveira, a fruitful path towards self-awareness. After working for years with issues relating to transcendence and affective memory, her work gained new approaches in recent times, now shown for the first time together in this exhibition. 


from where the nerves arise investigates the human body, its place in the universe, its simultaneous sculptural, dynamic and volatile character. This unfolding in Sheila’s work happened after she became interested in the concepts of “Eutony” – a corporeal practice that involves paying attention to sensations and feelings, promoting a broadening of our perception and body consciousness. 


Sight, movement, touch, skeleton, and skin pulsate the internal rhythms of the beings and tune them with the universe, like in a compacted microstructure of the cosmos. While investigating the determinations of this operating body, the artist echoed Merleau-Ponty’s thinking from the essay ‘Eye and Mind’: “It is by lending his body to the world that the artist changes the world into paintings. To understand these transubstantiations we must go back to the working, actual body – not the body as a chunk of space or a bundle of functions but that body which is an intertwining of vision and movement.”* 


This body consciousness as depot of unique feelings that ends up creating identity aspects – we are the body we have to the same extent that we transform it as of our awareness of it – led the artist to establishing an instigating analogy between the human body and photographic cameras. As she states herself, “I experiment what it’s like to have my body as a camera obscura, in a monologue about the gaze from inside, expanding my senses and presenting photography as a language medium, and my body’s language as the image medium, in a raw way, without activisms and in art’s innocence”. 


The mysteries that the body holds secret, the feelings from which the nerves arise – that only a broader self-awareness can reveal – gain, in the new delicate and inspiring investigations by Sheila Oliveira, a matching body in the possible materiality of photography. 


Eder Chiodetto 


*Merleau Ponty’s Essays on Painting, pp. 123-124